James Cameron talks Avatar sequels; says four & five aren't guaranteed

The first AVATAR came out on the better side of a decade ago, and getting a sequel going has been a long, long, long affair in the making. We would’ve already had a saga released if they were normal blockbusters, but these aren’t normal movies at all, and director James Cameron recently sat down with Vanity Fair to talk about how everything from pre-production to working with actors differs from any other flick out there.

A big part of the movie involves a tribe of underwater inhabitants of Pandora, which will be heavily featured in the new movies. Actress Kate Winslet signed on for the movies, and she will be playing a member of this reef tribe, and Cameron said she’s more than game to dive right in:

She’s very excited about it. She blazed through for a couple of days of rehearsals and saw the world that we had created, and how we do the work, and she’s very excited. She plays a character who’s part of the Sea People, the reef people. The one thing she did do is demand that she do all her own water work. I said, ‘All right, that’s fine, we’ll have to teach you how to free dive.

The same goes for the young crew, who have had to learn to perform underwater while holding their breaths for several minutes at a time:

The other actors are up to three- and four-minute breath holds. We’ve already been doing underwater capture. We did a scene last week with six teenagers, well, actually five teenagers and one 7-year-old underwater holding their breath for a couple minutes and acting, actually doing a dialogue scene under water because they speak kind of a sign language.

Cameron also went on to talk about why it’s taken so long to get these movies off the ground, saying that it’s the scripts took about four years to develop. But, in the meantime, they were working on the visual effects and technology, so that when the scripts were ready they could get to work. These scripts were created via a writer’s room of sorts, with each movie being developed to be their own beast, working towards a greater "meta narrative". This was a smart move because though AVATAR 2 & 3 are being worked on there’s no guarantee the fourth and fifth movies are going to happen:

Let’s face it, if AVATAR 2 and 3 don’t make enough money, there’s not going to be a 4 and 5. They’re fully encapsulated stories in and of themselves. It builds across the five films to a greater kind of meta narrative, but they’re fully formed films in their own right, unlike, say, The LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, where you really just had to sort of go, "Oh, sh*t, all right, well I guess I better come back next year." Even though that all worked and everybody did.

This lack of a green light for the final two movies would explain the release schedule, with AVATAR 2 & 3 slated for December 2020 and 2021, with a three-year gap before AVATAR 4 would hit. However, it's safe to say the sequels should be fine on the money-making front. AVATAR made $2.7 billion back in 2009, and since then the international market has only grown. Even if each movie makes half of what the first one did that would still make each one of the biggest movies ever made. 

The first AVATAR sequel is set for December 18, 2020.

Source: Vanity Fair



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